Ghosts & Haunts of My Past

The post title goes with the season, but it also fits what’s been on my mind. At the end of my post Sobriety & Isolation, I mentioned being haunted by mistakes. 

Imagine objects halfway buried in beach sand. The tide comes and goes, pushing the sand, eventually burying the objects completely so they’re unseen. Over time, the rushing waves pull the sand away, revealing the objects – sometimes all at once, but at random tides. And some of the objects are never to be seen again. 

This is how toxic mistakes people in my life resurface.

Since telling Biker Guy to lose my number last spring after he bragged about seeing another woman, he hasn’t contacted me except in subtle ways through Instagram. At the end of July, he responded with a hot emoji to a throwback photo I posted in an Instagram story. I did not reply. That would have been around the 3-month mark since he told me about the other woman, so I figured it had sizzled out like all of his flavors of the season.

Again, Biker Guy liked something on my Instagram around his birthday in August. (I suppose to get my attention so I would say happy birthday?) I did not react. Then he viewed my stories a week later, but he’s never said an actual word to me. Last week, I had strange feelings like he was going to show up, and then on Friday, he reacted to a photo with a laughing emoji. I did not reply. This is how Biker Guy communicates when he’s bored and lonely. The last thing I need right now is him trying to worm his way back into my life when I’m at my worst. I’m not ready to see or talk to him, and I don’t know how long it will take. 

I may be vulnerable, but I’m sober, and no longer gullible. 

It’s coming up on a year since I last saw Biker Guy. Every time I feel like I’ve moved on, he comes along. One stupid emoji reaction from him can evoke a long, hard cry – but not because I want to get back with him. Maybe because he was the last person in my life intermittently for a year and a half since I was married. Maybe because I trusted him, he hurt me really badly, and I am not healed. Maybe because I’m afraid to speak to him, because I don’t want to hear his bragging about dating someone else. Or maybe because I’m going through the emotions of grief again. 

Yeah, probably all of that. 

Last Tuesday, I had another haunting. Two missed calls from the same out-of-state number I didn’t recognize. No one left a message; I figured it was a telemarketer and googled the number to make sure. I literally laughed out loud when I saw the name, because it’s been a few years of not hearing from or seeing him anywhere around. It was Toe Ring Guy. 

Quick backstory on Toe Ring Guy: met him a few years ago on Bumble. We went on a few dates within a three-month period. He is more on the conservative side and not at all hippie or cool, so when he pulled off his sock to show me his toe ring, I laughed. He presented himself as an intelligent, nice guy that was a coach and good father and was looking for a relationship. He seemed like he had his shit together. But Toe Ring Guy turned out to be a complete drunk, a womanizer, and an overall dishonest asshole with selfish intentions. The last time we were supposed to hang out, he blew me off and ignored my texts. Then I saw him on a date with another woman – literally standing together in front of the place I was sitting while he ignored my texts. 

I have no desire for any contact with Toe Ring Guy whatsoever, as I see no point. We are not friends, nor were we ever. We don’t share memories or times together that I want to remember. We could never be friends, because he clearly does not share my values. Scrolling through missed calls, I noticed he tried calling me on the Friday afternoon prior, probably to “get a drink,” which ultimately means to fuck (and not worth it). He doesn’t even have the decency to leave a message, but I won’t be replying regardless. 

Biker Guy and Toe Ring have a lot in common. They’re both drunks, liars, users, manipulators, gaslighters, and neither are exactly monogamous when they claim to be. Maybe this is a test of my willpower. But…

Since I’m stuck at home with pain and anxiety, I did like any curious woman would do: a little research online to see what these two clowns have been up to. It’s difficult to see things without a Facebook account, but maybe it’s best I don’t see everything (especially when Biker Guy purposely posts things publicly he knows will upset me). Like any woman on a mission, I found other ways. Strangely, both Biker Guy and Toe Ring sold their houses, so the chances of me running into them in certain areas are slim. This is good, because now I can breathe driving in those areas and knowing I won’t see either of them. Perhaps they were contacting me to share their news, because no one else will listen. I don’t know Biker Guy’s living situation, and I can’t imagine he’s living alone. I’m not sure I want to know. 

And so, the tide pushes the sand again, covering what was exposed. 

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